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Santa Maria Public Airport (Capt. G. Allan Hancock Field) (IATA: SMX, ICAO: KSMX, FAA LID: SMX) is three miles (5 km) south of Santa Maria, in northern Santa Barbara County, California.[1]

Santa Maria Public Airport

Capt. G. Allan Hancock Field
Santa Maria Army Airfield
SMX logo.png
Santa Maria Public Airport-2006-USGS.jpg
2006 USGS Photo
Airport typePublic
OwnerSanta Maria Public Airport District
ServesSanta Maria, California
Elevation AMSL261 ft / 80 m
Coordinates34°53′56″N 120°27′27″W / 34.89889°N 120.45750°W / 34.89889; -120.45750Coordinates: 34°53′56″N 120°27′27″W / 34.89889°N 120.45750°W / 34.89889; -120.45750
SMX is located in California
SMX is located in the United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 8,004 2,440 Asphalt
2/20 5,189 1,582 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft operations38,519
Based aircraft212
Source: FAA,[1] airport website[2]
FAA diagram before runway extension


The airport was built by the United States Army during World War II, known as Santa Maria Army Air Field.[3] Its primary mission was to provide training for B-24 bomber pilots, however flight training was abandoned by December 1942. The field fell into a state of disuse until the arrival of the Lockheed P-38 twin engine fighter in September 1943.

During its use by the military Santa Maria AAF also controlled Estrella Army Airfield, near Paso Robles as an auxiliary airfield to support the pilot training activity.

After the war Santa Barbara County and the city of Santa Maria acquired the land and facilities through two grants in 1948. In 1964 the Army Air Field was renamed Santa Maria Public Airport.

Past airline serviceEdit

The first airline at Santa Maria was Pacific Seaboard Air Lines. In 1933 Pacific Seaboard scheduled two daily Bellanca CH-300s Los Angeles - Santa Barbara - Santa Maria - San Luis Obispo - Paso Robles - Monterey - Salinas - San Jose - San Francisco.[4] Pacific Seaboard would later move its entire operation to the eastern U.S., be renamed Chicago and Southern Air Lines, and in 1953 be acquired by and merged into Delta Air Lines.[5] Southwest Airways Douglas DC-3s began service during the 1940s. The June 1, 1947 timetable lists three daily round trips Los Angeles-Oxnard-Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-San Luis Obispo-Coalinga-Monterey-Santa Cruz/Watsonville-San Jose/Moffett Field-San Francisco.[6] Southwest changed its name to Pacific Air Lines and operated Martin 4-0-4s and Fairchild F-27s to Santa Maria in the 1960s. Pacific merged with Bonanza Air Lines and West Coast Airlines to form Air West which became Hughes Airwest which served Santa Maria with McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s and Fairchild F-27s.[7] The Oct. 26, 1975 Hughes Airwest timetable listed DC-9 nonstops to Los Angeles and San Francisco and nonstop F-27s to LAX.[8] This was the only time Santa Maria had nonstop mainline jets to LAX and SFO at the same time; DC-9 flights ended in a few months and Hughes Airwest F-27 flights to Santa Maria ended in 1979.

A number of commuter airlines served the airport. In 1968 Cable Commuter Airlines was flying de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters to LAX.[9] At one point in the early 1980s Swift Aire Lines, based at nearby San Luis Obispo Airport, was the only airline flying nonstop between Santa Maria and Los Angeles, mainly with new Fokker F27 Friendships.[10] Swift Aire also operated Nord 262s and de Havilland Herons to the airport. Other commuter airlines included Sun Aire Lines with Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners, Santa Barbara-based Apollo Airways (which changed its name to Pacific Coast Airlines) flying Handley Page HP.137 Jetstreams, Wings West Airlines operating as American Eagle with Beechcraft C99s, Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners, BAe Jetstream 31s, and Saab 340s, West Air flying as United Express with BAe Jetstream 31s and Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirantes and Mesa Air also operating as United Express with Beechcraft 1900Cs.


The airport covers 2,516 acres (1,018 ha) and has two asphalt runways: 12/30, 8,004 x 150 ft (2,439 x 46 m) and 2/20, 5,189 x 75 ft (1,582 x 23 m).[1]

In 2007 the airport had 62,480 aircraft operations, average 171 per day: 79% general aviation, 19% air taxi, 2% military and <1% airline. 243 aircraft are based at the airport: 83% single-engine, 7% multi-engine, 6% helicopter, 3% jet, <1% glider and <1% ultralight.[1]

Current and recent past airline serviceEdit

A runway extension opened on May 3, 2012, from 6,304 ft. to 8,004 ft.[11] It is hoped that the extended runway will help to attract new airlines or new destinations.

Allegiant Air currently flies Airbus A319s nonstop to Las Vegas, four per week each way. In 2012 Allegiant Air briefly operated weekly Boeing 757-200s Santa Maria to Honolulu.[12]

A 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) baggage claim facility opened in 2007. It is one of the first airports on the Central Coast to use a state of the art baggage carousel, on a small scale.

Other enhancements include a new terminal holding room that opened February 2008. The old area had room for 30 passengers. Designed for the Allegiant Air flights, the new holding room can accommodate 200 passengers and has room for a new cafe.

Besides the Allegiant jet service, SkyWest Airlines operating as United Express flew Bombardier CRJ-200s nonstop to San Francisco (SFO), a hub for United. Skywest served the airport for many years and began flights to Santa Maria in 1984 when it acquired Sun Aire Lines. SkyWest began flying as Delta Connection from SMX in the late 1980s via a code sharing agreement with Delta Air Lines operating Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners before becoming a United Express carrier.[13] SkyWest had previously operated United Express service nonstop to Los Angeles with Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias; flights to LAX were discontinued in favor of nonstop Canadair regional jets to SFO for United. SkyWest operating as United Express no longer serves Santa Maria.[14] Mokulele Airlines Cessna 208 Caravans replaced the SkyWest/United Express service to Los Angeles (LAX); In 2016, Mokulele moved its flights to the Los Angeles area to Burbank and dropped Santa Maria on November 30, 2017.[15]

The extended runway at Santa Maria is paved to 8,004 feet,[11] giving the airport the longest civil runway between Los Angeles and San Jose[16] on the central coast (Bakersfield's primary runway at Meadows Field in the Central Valley (10855 x 150 ft.) and Vandenberg AFB's runway (15000 x 200 ft.) are longer).


Nov 2007 to October 2008: 56,553 passengers (SkyWest), 53,294 passengers (Allegiant), total 109,847 passengers.[17] Nov 2008 to October 2009, 48,117 passengers (SkyWest), 37,570 passengers (Allegiant), total 85,687 passengers.[17] SkyWest operating as United Express has since ceased all service into Santa Maria.[14]

Airline and destinationEdit


Allegiant Air Las Vegas


Airline Destination
FedEx Feeder
operated by West Air

Allan Hancock FieldEdit

The original Allan Hancock Field was established in 1927 at another location, between Jones Street to the north, Stowell Road to the south, Bradley Road to the east and Miller Street to the west. The airport housed the Allan Hancock College of Aeronautics operated by the Hancock Foundation of Aeronautics. Before World War II, it was one of eight civil training military aviation cadets.[18] After the war the field was used by the University of Southern California for their 4-year Aeronautics Degree program. In 1958 a bond was passed allowing Santa Maria Junior College to purchase the land, much of which would become the campus of what is now known as Allan Hancock College.[19] The name of the original Santa Maria Airport and Hancock's name then transferred to the other, now public airport in town.

See alsoEdit


  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for SMX (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-10-25
  2. ^ Santa Maria Public Airport, official site
  3. ^
  4. ^, Summer 1933 Pacific Seaboard timetable
  5. ^, Chicago and Southern (C&S) Air Lines
  6. ^; June 1, 1947 Southwest Airways timetable
  7. ^, April 15, 1975 Official Airline Guide (OAG)
  8. ^; Oct. 26, 1975 Hughes Airwest timetable
  9. ^, Dec. 1, 1968 Cable Commuter Airlines timetable
  10. ^; April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^, "First 757 touches down at Santa Maria Airport"
  13. ^; Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^
  16. ^ san jose airport web site
  17. ^ a b [1]
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-04-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit